Whenever the Competition Committee recommends a rule change to ownership and ownership shoots it down, there must be an explanation for it. From the Competition Committee’s perspective, the explanation has to be something other than, “We really screwed that one up.”
As it relates to the rejected recommendation to reduce overtime in the preseason and regular season to 15 minutes, the Competition Committee really screwed that one up. But of course Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay will never say that. Instead, he suggested that the rule didn’t pass because the owners didn’t have enough time to get their brains around it.
“I think it caught some people by surprise,” McKay told Peter King of TheMMQB.com. “This year we did not have a week between our Competition Committee meeting and our owners meeting, which we typically do. During that week we send all the proposals to the clubs; we have conference calls and go through the proposals to the clubs and we have a chance to let them understand our reasoning. In this case we didn’t, because we didn’t have enough time based on the calendar this year. I think people were caught by surprise.”
They may have been caught by surprise, but they still had more than enough time to develop an opinion as to whether they want to risk more ties, with no guarantee there will actually be fewer snaps in a shrunken overtime. Besides, admitting that “people were caught by surprise” is, in a roundabout way, an admission that the Competition Committee really screwed that one up.
Even if McKay is trying to create the impression that it will soon be un-screwed up.
“Some of [the owners] put their hands up and said, ‘Hey, if I had to vote today, I’m not sure I would support,'” McKay said. “So I took the position of fine, let’s make sure we show you all the data. Number one, we are going to propose it for one year only so that people could see the results. Number two, it’s only in the preseason or regular season, and it is based on the number of snaps that a player has to play. Our concern is that we don’t know what comes behind it, whether that is a game on Thursday night or travel across the country, all those things. I understand. I have been down the overtime path before. People get very nervous about changing overtime. We’ll get back to it.”
Before they get back to it, the owners need to realize what’s actually going on here. This isn’t about making overtime better. It’s about making Thursday Night Football less worse.
More specifically, it’s about eliminating one of the potential avenues for criticizing short-week football.
“Our concern is that we don’t know what comes behind it, whether that is a game on Thursday night or travel across the country,” McKay said. It’s nice he threw the “travel across the country” thing in there, but that’s a distant second to avoiding that one-per-decade-maybe occurrence of a team playing 75 minutes on Sunday and then playing 60 minutes (or maybe another 75) on Thursday.
It nearly happened last year, when the Raiders and Buccaneers played deep into overtime in Tampa, and then the Bucs had to play the Falcons on Thursday night. (It didn’t go well for the Bucs.)
Still, why welcome what necessarily would be a greater chance of more ties in order to avoid something that may only happen once per every 10 years? It makes no sense, and hopefully the fact that it made no sense to the owners after having a little bit of time to consider it will mean it makes no sense when they have more time to consider it.
Even more hopefully, they’ll decide after having more time to consider it that the two-point conversion shootout is the best way to go, if overtime is going to be changed.